Orbitz Worldwide, the longtime No. 3 player in online travel, is revving its engines. After going public in July (for the second time, following a few years of being privately held), it has inched its way up to tie Travelocity for the No. 2 slot behind Expedia, with 27 percent of the domestic online travel agency market, according to Morgan Stanley.

While the company, which also owns CheapTickets and Away.com, has enjoyed international growth of around 25 percent a year, the bulk of its business is in the slower-growing U.S. market. Orbitz CEO Steven Barnhart sat down with U.S. News Associate Editor Kimberly Palmer.

On the question regarding the online travel industry's biggest challenges, Barnhart says:

"If you look at the travel industry in general, one of the challenges you see is really for consumers. As planes have gotten more full, as hotels have gotten more full, the logistics of traveling have gotten more difficult. So part of what we try to do is not just book tickets for consumers, but we try to make the travel experience better for them. We do that through two ways. One, Orbitz, is a system that allows us to alert customers if there's an issue with travel, whether their flight is delayed or proactively letting them know there is a transit strike in New York, or whatever. The other thing we launched more recently is OrbitzTLC Traveler Update, which allows travelers to communicate in real time with each other."

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